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Serving: United States
Mature rows of field corn covered with snow with woods in the background. mvburling/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Propane shortage another headache for farmers

House Ag chairman Peterson asks Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to aid Midwest growers

This year's wet harvest in the Midwest has put pressure on propane supplies in the region.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson and a bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee to bring awareness to the need for a continued supply of propane to Midwest states.

"We hope to avoid a disastrous situation with cold temperatures and snow in the forecast spiking demand for residential deliveries just as farmers are needing to heat poultry and livestock barns and crop farmers are facing one of their most frustrating harvest seasons in years,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

Farmers are calling lawmakers seeking help.

"Those who are lucky enough to have crops to harvest this year are now struggling with drying a wet corn crop," the lawmakers wrote. "Wet corn put in storage can start to spoil in as little as three days."

Some grain elevators are also reportedly stopping the delivery of corn and storing corn on the ground because they're running short of propane.

According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, propane stocks in the Midwest typically peak between late September and mid-October, then start slowly falling through November and December. As of Nov. 1, stocks had fallen 6% since the end of September and were approximately 2 million barrels lower than the same week last year.

Reuters recently reported, “The supply crunch prompted the governors of Iowa, [Indiana], Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin in recent days to sign executive orders temporarily lifting regulations restricting what hours commercial drivers can transport propane, gasoline and diesel fuel to retail suppliers, to try to get the fuel to farmers and farm cooperatives as fast as possible.”

Peterson said the letter intends to remind the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioners that they have tools to help address the conditions facing farmers.

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